An Easier Way to Find Product Evaluations

Have you ever cleaned out a closet or filing cabinet and come across a huge stack of old magazines? There was a time when many dentists kept their back issues of The Journal of the American Dental Association and other periodicals, as this was the easiest way to reference them without a trip to the library. Many people did the same with mainstream publications like Consumer Reports.

While it can be briefly entertaining to stumble across an old stack of magazines—for the vintage ads if nothing else—thankfully today most of the product rankings and studies we need can be accessed online.

What are your go-to online sources if you want to look up product information? Do you do a deep dive for studies on PubMed, or do you prefer a faster distillation from a source like REALITY? (If you are a REALITY member, you may be interested in seeing the recent 4.5 star rating of our Filtek™ Supreme Ultra Universal Restorative.)

I’d be interested in knowing how frequently you use resources like this to find product evaluations. It’s certainly easier than keeping all those print issues in a box.

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5 comments so far

  1. Hi Keith,

    My observation and experience says that for many years already, the go-to source for many (if not most) dentists is online dental social media. Instead of going to the allegedly independent testing companies, we go to each other…. fellow practicing dentists.

    I think the credibility (if any) of the testing groups has waned. Online dental social groups give instantaneous real-time feedback for colleagues with nothing to sell. Of course, those reviews don’t typically include technical testing data. Rather, it is admittedly anecdotal clinical experience. But, it’s generally believable.

    Likewise, if a material or product is not performing as promised, that information makes the rounds very quickly online, as well.

    Perhaps I shouldn’t be proud to say this… but, I haven’t used traditional journals or even sources like Reality or CRA for many, many years. I’ve been using online social media since 1992. It has served me well.

    • 3M ESPE on

      Hi Mike,
      I agree with your comments. There has been a significant change in the importance, value and much wider spread engagement of social media in the dental community. By and large the opinions are shared for the greater good and the ” best” product or service stands tall.
      The growth of social media sites within the dental community is exploding. This week, 3M ESPE is meeting with all major print and online media companies at our bi annual Media Days. I am amazed at the number of new sites that have established and grown communities over the last12 months.
      Best regards and thanks for your comments.

  2. Jason Dps on

    Hi Dr. Barr and Keith-

    Jason from DPS.com here. As always, great comments on a great topic from you both so keep the product related blogs coming.

    Open ended, 2 part question for you both off of Dr. Barr’s comments…

    Part 1: Coming from a certain product publication that we’ll not name, who’s main focus is to provide unbiased product evaluations done by everyday practicing dentists and hygienists (sorry, shameless plug on my part), do either of you think that social media is one of the reasons or is THE reason for this shift away from the journals (in terms of product evaluations and feedback, etc) or do you think this movement had been ongoing and social media provided the platform to spread it further?

    Part 2: Using what Dr. Barr said, these online social groups are providing instant real-time product feedback, which typically do not include technical data. Where do you think dentists/hygienists are now getting that (technical) info from if not from the journals? Are manufacturers providing these technical answers through their own presence in social media?

    • 3M ESPE on

      Hi Jason,
      The internet has fundamentally changed the way people find, discover , share , shop and connect. According to Blogher, April 2011, PEW Research, May 2010 – more than half of all US residents and more than 75% of all US adults are online. People LOVE to engage. Social Media has facilitated something people love to do. Print media is still an important part of the communication medium, but not THE most important ,as it was , perhaps ten to twenty years ago.
      Moving on to Part 2: Journals, especially peer reviewed journals are an important source of clinical data. Manufacturer web sites as well as respected dental associations/organisations and universities can also be a great source of technical information. As far as manufacturer interaction on the social media sites is concerned, as long as the person discloses their company affiliation, I think this is a great way to share technical inforamtion.
      Great questions Jason. Thanks for the post.

  3. I agree with Keith. Manufacturers would be smart to leverage social media to inform dentists about the technical aspects of their products.

    Honestly, I don’t have TIME to review journals anymore. I spend a lot (more than I care to admit, but my wife will tell you!) of time online. Journals go into a “to do” pile, which then gets “done” by transferring to the garbage. 🙂


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